Easter can be a daunting time, particularly if you have diabetes and are insulin dependent.
No matter where you go, you just can’t escape being bombarded with sweet, chocolatey temptations – argh!
But it doesn’t have to be scary.
Over the years I’ve learned to come up with ways to help alleviate the temptation during Easter.
Keep reading as I share with you some of my tips for reducing stress this time of year and ensuring you have a happy Easter.
Select treats with a nutritional label
This can be easier said than done, because many of the traditional Easter treats like hot cross buns, come in packets without an in-depth nutritional label.
Many of these products are produced at in-house bakery sections of major supermarkets and just come in a standard plastic bag.
This can make it really tricky to work out exactly how many carbs you’re eating and how much insulin to give yourself.
There are apps on the market which can assist in giving you a rough indication of carbs per serving or popular foods, but some of these are more like guesstimates than accurate values.
Make it yourself
Baking your own Easter treats is a great way to ensure you’re eliminating the guess work out of Easter eating.
Using ingredients you know and trust and knowing exactly how much of each ingredient has gone into the recipe, makes it a lot easier to work out total carbs per serve.
Substitutes and alternatives
Many of the treats popular at Easter time are very high in carbohydrate and have a high GI value.
Standard hot cross buns can have anywhere from 30g-40g of carbohydrate per bun, which is up to two and a half portions. Not to mention the added sugar and carbs if you add a sweet topping like, dare I say … jam?
Instead, you can try the fruitless versions, as these will be lower in carbs as dried fruit is naturally high in sugar.
Other options are the ‘mini’ hot cross buns which are half the size of normal versions. This way you’re only eating half the carbs.
As for toppings, why not try home-made jam using real fruit and chia seeds for thickening?
You don’t even need to add sugar as fruit is naturally sweet and once the water has been cooked out of the fruit, the sweetness is more noticeable.
Why not go bananas … or rather berries? Try some chocolate covered fruit instead. Berries are a great option if you have diabetes, as they’re low in carbs and are low GI.
Chocolate can be a really personal preference. Most people seem to have a ‘favourite’ type of chocolate from dark, to milk, to white, to nutty, to fruity, etc.
Dark chocolate typically contains less sugar than milk or white chocolate and the more cocoa in the chocolate the better. If I’m eating chocolate, I tend to go for the 70% cocoa version as this has much less sugar than other options.
There are great sugar free chocolates on the market, but be careful of hidden sugar alcohols. Some products that claim to be sugar free, are still sweetened with a lot of naturally sweet products which will impact your BGL.
Many are also sweetened with sugar alcohols such as maltitol, which are sometimes left off the nutritional label. Sugar alcohols do impact BGL. For more info on this visit my earlier post Sweeteners Explained.
Check your total carbs
But again, if you’re desperate for a bit of chocolate, the best tip is to check the nutritional label for the carb and sugar content per serve and stick to that.
A standard chocolate bunny has about 14.3 grams of carbohydrate per 25 gram serve, that’s one portion.
Try to avoid grabbing a chocolate bunny out of the kitchen cupboard and demolishing it in two minutes flat.
If you know how much you’ve eaten and the total carbs per serving, it’s much easier to give yourself the right insulin dose than having to rummage through the rubbish bin with your chocolate covered fingers trying to calculate insulin after the fact.
Timing is everything
Giving yourself insulin before you start eating something sweet also helps to ensure stable blood sugars than dosing after the food is eaten.
If you can, time your treat indulgence to when your blood sugars are stable or low.
Avoid eating sweet foods when your BGL is high, as this will be sure to send you on a wild BGL roller coaster ride.
Change your focus
Why not try putting your focus this year on giving treats rather than receiving them.
A smile from someone who is grateful for your gift, is often more rewarding than eating the treat yourself.
Add a dash of activity
If you’re keen to eat something sweet, try doing some form of activity or exercise afterwards.
Why not get the whole family out for some fun in the sun and burn off some of that chocolate.
Wishing you all a very happy and healthy Easter!